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Re: What are you currently reading? Started the vagrant last night. It's very good but strange.

Spoiler for Hiden:
There's a goat

April 11, 2015, 11:35:47 AM
Re: Fantasy-Faction Grim Gathering: April 10th. F-F Big Breakfast: April 11th.
Hey Rostum what colour were you wearing, maybe we can find you as well - hope ScarletBea met  up after all.
Sounds so great wish we could all have be there.

Thankfully I seem to have escaped the signing and the pub photos so no awkard shots of me looking lost but I am in the Breakfast shot, you can work it out. I caught ScarletBea at breakfast before everyone else arrived and stopped her writing her diary (sorry!) we were both still buzzing a bit from the night before. In fact I still am but that might be the stupid amount of coffee consumed today.
There were people from all over the Uk and a couple came through from Holland, but Louise who is on the front left of the breakfast photo flew in from the middle of Sweden. After getting back today she was talking about a four hour train journey tomorrow to go to Jim Butcher's signing in Gothenburg.

April 11, 2015, 03:55:14 PM
Re: Fantasy-Faction Grim Gathering: April 10th. F-F Big Breakfast: April 11th.

Pretty standard unpacking today I should think.

April 11, 2015, 07:34:57 PM
Re: Ancient and medieval fighting and weapons OK I will bite: Eek this has all moved on since I started typing

I had been considering starting a thread on these lines since joining the boards only a little while ago, but didn't want to just barge in. I get passionate over this stuff. As any who suffered me talking history and re-enactment Saturday will testify, but where do you begin. I am happy to give opinion on pretty much anything medieval as well as fight scenes and have reference works I am happy to browse looking for answers.

I have some practical knowledge of using rebated steel weapons in competitive combat. Single combats through to battles of several hundred a side covering a time period between between 800ad to 1600ad. Recreated War of the Roses hoop and stave cannon and was lucky enough to crew the Mary Rose replica gun at Fort Nelson. I have made tents as well as carpentry items and some done some limited smithing, Built a Perrier and worked for the company that made the siege engines on display at Caerphilly Castle. Burnt charcoal and built bread ovens and I fletch and shoot my own arrows when time and space allow.
Yes I know how big headed this makes me sound but hopefully I can share some of this and maybe help someone with their writing on the mechanics of this stuff.

I have a lot of book learning, a little from primary source most from modern experts in the field. I would like to think this gives me some insight. All I can say is I may have an idea of how things were done for much of what I did it's guess work and you recreate a tool, be it butter churn or Viking sword and find how it is practical to use it. For later European sword work there are surviving manuals. George Silver is a good read.


Summary don't mince around and hit them in the head. Stay away from those Italians and their effete rapiers.
He was onto a loser but there are some nuggets in there.

A slightly earlier work by Talhoffer, a German is very useful for War of the Roses period combat.


Neither of these are exclusively sword manuals but are geared to impart military knowledge or in the latter half of Talhoffers work describe judicial combats, often between husband and wife which just gets weird.

Before I get too caught up

The thing I am currently struggling with is learning about the use of axes in actual battle. There is a huge amount of information about swords (though they were among the rarest types of weapons), and a good amount about spears and bows, but for axes there is very little. Is anyone familiar with axes used for fighting and has any information about them to share?

Bit like your swords reply there are a lot of variations in axes across the millennia. For simplicity and to hide my lack of a clue I will stick to the European/Scandinavian stuff a bit over 1000 years ago as that’s what I have actually fought with. I would split those down into the two handed Dane axe type and all the one handed stuff.
For the big stuff anything with a straight edge is going to be ceremonial or for executions fighting axes tend to have a curved blade. The haft is long enough to leave the top point of the blade below your shoulder height. You are not going to hit the ground now and hopefully you have enough control not to smack your own knees or shins.
Harold’s busy getting killed using one on the Bayeux Tapestry. Like pretty much any weapon the stance is side on to your opponent(s) and you keep the blade moving its real advantage is intimidation. It's big and heavy but hits hard and will cause massive trauma even against armoured targets. You keep it moving in a slow figure of 8 and change that rhythm before you strike. Defensively you can block with the haft diagonally and with the head pushed forwards or to the side. Breaking horses and shields (and getting the user stuck with spears) seems to be the best use for them. You can use it as a hook and catch an opponents shield with the back point the punch it forward so the front point meets their face or neck. Or just drag them out of their shield wall so your mates can finish them.
To use it effectively you need people to support you. A lone spear-man should beat a lone axeman every time.

With the single handed axes a shield in the other hand is a great idea. In fact for fighting in a shield wall the axe is a far more useful weapon than the sword as the movement you have is all up and down and you can only stab not slash with a sword in a wall.
In single combat and with shield half the aggressive moves are at the edges of your adversaries shield or shield boss. If you can knock their own shield rim into their teeth you can distract then for the half second needed to try and land the real blow. You can use their shield boss to push their shield down and then as they react slide it up the face of the shield. Even the blunt side of and axe can hurt.
In a wall you can reach over shields with them and tangle them up in the sleeves of a mail brynie, baldrics or shield straps and pull your opponent to your shieldwall for someone else to deal with.
There are disarming moves to catch the blades of other weapons and lock them on the head and the (haft or the head and the tail of the head on a Viking skeggox) where you catch their blade and twist to try and disarm or to break their weapon. If you can get inside the reach of a swordsman and stay nose to nose with him you can still chop chunks out of him but he has problems swinging a sword.

HTH feel free to ask any specifics if this isn't what you were looking for.

BTW there is something called the Fransisca which is worth looking up and they can be thrown from horseback.

April 12, 2015, 03:41:27 PM
Re: Post your Grim Gathering Review :)
it would be great if you could write a short review of how you thought it went

Best signing I have attended. Is that short enough Marc?

Usually I would have decided it was too far for a signature and not gone or done the stress of the travel finding where I need to be, queued then said something stupid while getting my books signed and gone home. Usually with the post trip is that it blues.
Instead I got to do all that then continue to make a fool of myself with authors while alcohol was involved, meet lots of people who actually understand why I read SFF and are accepting of it if not absolutely passionate about the same books. Then talk too much over breakfast. A truly memorable event. My thanks to all those who organised it and made it so.

April 12, 2015, 04:18:03 PM
Re: Ancient and medieval fighting and weapons
Eeeek, it seems I didn't talk enough with you Rostum, sorry! I missed all the re-enactement conversations, sounds really interesting

I think conversation may be the wrong term. I talked at length and my victims eyes slowly glazed over.

April 12, 2015, 04:40:07 PM
Re: Hugo Awards 2015 Controversy & Sad Puppies I have read through this thread to hopefully get some understanding of the latest drama. There seems to be some every year. It is always caused by a vocal minority. The voice of reason is legion on the subject yet history will repeat itself. I have not read anything by a certain author since they made certain comments a couple of years ago. So all this angst can really cause damage albeit in tiny incriments.
In truth most of the Hugo and Nebula winners I read as a teenager were picked up in cut price bookshops a while after publication date. Probably because as soon as they won another print was run which didn't sell.

I feel very sad for the award and this years winners as everyone will be living under the question of whether they only won because or despite....[insert gender/race/sexuality and whatever else can be brought to play]
which has nothing to do with how good a writer or how wonderful their ideas are.

April 12, 2015, 05:09:27 PM
Re: Post your Grim Gathering Review :) I am 250 pages in. I believe this book will do very well and suspect there will be a best newcomer award if nothing else for Peter. It has been a Wonderfulstrange book so far.
April 12, 2015, 08:19:32 PM
Liars Key Competitions Details here :


April 28, 2015, 09:12:37 PM
Re: How to Avoid Scaring Away Male Readers - Too Much Touchy Feely Stuff (literally) I seem to have arrived late to the thread and pretty much agree with the consensus.
Unless you are writing to eat, write the story you want to tell. If you are risking going hungry write the story as many as possible want to read.

Why worry about men being put off by sex or love scenes? Why not people? There will be always be some who are more prudish than others, some who through their political or religious beliefs and upbringing will find any mention sex or intimacy offensive in literature and we still have the odd book burning from the more lunatic elements out in the world.

If what you are writing is the Mills and Boon(do they still exist?) type story where the author is chucking out a book a fortnight using the same story dressed up with pirate ships, knights in armour or car racing, but essentially the same book dressing up the titillation in a slightly different way from the last one. That will probably drive men away. Nothing to do with the mention or inferred intimate contact and a lot more to do with the unrealistic expectations of the male characters, sadly most of us are not ruggedly handsome multi- millionaires who happen to be holidaying alone and on the beach at just the right time to meet/find/rescue the heroine. It's trite and doesn't appeal.
Belief is not suspended by such characterization any more than it is when female characters are portrayed as beautiful, slight, weak and constantly in need of rescuing.

Medieval Europe was indeed a fairly bawdy place, Chaucer portrays it as such, and he and Shakespeare both write to the audiences of their times. The best sources of what people were getting up to are church ordinances. If the church was banning it then there was usually someone up to it, at certain times the clergy themselves.

One of the best reasons to use romance or relationships in writing is to fix your character into their society and as a reference to that societies mores. Is the relationship permissible or forbidden is it an act of desperation is it an arranged marriage, for good or bad. Is it an act of duty. You can also build up a character to have everything to live for then kill them off to desolate their partner. I would agree that any intimacy needs a context and if it does not further the story it detracts from it.
Someone said that every word and deed between bouts of lovemaking should be considered foreplay. If you can write a characters where that is the case you will hold a readers attention regardless of their gender.

May 09, 2015, 11:48:52 AM